I’m a pessimist about my teams, so my optimism about the Dodgers has been unusual. When they were in the throes of misery I knew, as I believe I told someone on Facebook, that the season would end well. “Well” might seem to be already accomplished to some of you. Not to me. I want the Dodgers to win the whole thing. I have faith that this ownership team in place now is committed to bringing home the trophy time and time again. But the opportunities to get it can’t be considered a given. And the Dodgers have a great opportunity to get it this year. I would hate to see this opportunity slip away on faith that the team will have a chance some other year.
Watching the Dodgers lose 4-3 yesterday after what I thought were poor decisions by manager Don Mattingly I began bracing myself for the possibility that this team might lose. Bracing myself means beginning to ponder what teams I would favor winning if the Dodgers don’t. So here’s the list. I’m guessing no one else cares, but that has never been a prerequisite for a blog post.
1. Oakland Athletics
Moneyball was a great book and movie. It got an Oscar nomination. It’s time the concept earned the reward that matters most, a World Championship before the team moves to San Jose.
2. Pittsburgh PiratesThis team is a great story, one that every baseball fan knows and we’re all getting pretty sick of discussing. The small-market team suffered losing seasons 20 straight years. They finally broke through this year and have a shot at doing something that might make Pirate fans think all those years of losing were worth it.
3. St. Louis Cardinals
Some of you might think I should have this team as my No. 1, because the Cardinals are my nephew Reggie’s favorite team. But if the Cardinals lose, do you think he would root for the Dodgers? No. At best he would stop caring. I like the Cardinals, how they built their team and how good their fans are, but this team has won it twice already in recent years. It’s family loyalty that got them this high on my list.
4. Tampa Bay Rays
This is where we get to the part of the list when I stop caring. The Rays play in a crap stadium and have very little fan loyalty, so it’s not as if I care at all about that community winning. I like the team, though, and would be happy for James Loney. He turned me down for an interview once, but he was nice about it.
5. Detroit Tigers
Somehow I feel like I should want this team to be higher on the list, and if they surpassed the Rays it wouldn’t kill me. I’d be glad for Detroit generally, though I’m not sure there is anyone left in town to enjoy it. Still, I can’t get worked up about them at all. In the American League the Tigers might be the team most like the Dodgers, because they have great pitchers and some solid hitting. Still, meh.
6. Atlanta Braves
This is the part of the list where I get close to rooting against teams. I hate the tomahawk chop, the fact that Ted Turner named the stadium after himself and especially the fact that for years they proclaimed themselves “America’s Team.” If there were a vote across the nation for America’s Team, I’m not sure Atlanta would be in the top half of the most popular picks. I do like the makeup of the team itself and have nothing against the city. And I have good friends who are Braves fans, so I would be happy for them. I hope they don’t unfriend me during the playoffs.
7. Boston Red Sox
There have been times in my life when I loved the Red Sox. They were once my second favorite baseball team. I was thrilled when they finally broke the jinx in 2004 and won it again a few years later. I have had great experiences at Fenway and a real affection for their fans, including another nephew, Mike. But enough is enough. Those fans have gone from suffering to insufferable. I say it’s time for a new losing streak, for the Red Sox and while we’re at it for the Patriots.